At last night’s HBEC Aero Club’s Christmas Party Jan suggested today might be suitable for taking Max up. So, at 4.30pm Max, Noel and I turned up at Jan and Jerry’s to find the Gipsy Moth, Tiger Moth and Bruce and Stephanie’s Stearman all parked outside the Chisum’s hangar!

It turned out all three of us were going to get airborne!!! 🙂 Max in the red Gipsy Moth with Jerry, Noel in the yellow/black Tiger Moth with Jan and me in the blue/yellow Stearman with Bruce.

The weather was good enough and although there was some rain about we kept away from it.

It turned out to be one of the most memorable flying days I’ve had. Absolutely brilliant. Three biplanes up together just having fun. Can’t beat that!

Max chatting with Bruce.

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Bruce describing the starting procedure without a starter motor.


Max describing the disappointment during the Spitfire’s starting procedure when it didn’t start first go.

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Jerry helping Max with the helmet.

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It’s what all pilots are wearing these days don’t you know!


Max getting into the Gipsy Moth, helped by Jerry and Noel.

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Ready for anything….!


Me getting into the Stearman with Bruce helping.

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Taxying away.

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The plan was for us to fly in formation, south along the coast a little, up to near Cape Kidnappers, avoid the bird sanctuary and then on to Ocean Beach. Then to Te Mata peak and back to Hastings Airfield.

Tally Ho!

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Gipsy Moth and Tiger Moth.




Noel and Jan.

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Approaching the coast to the south of Napier.

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Cape Kidnappers.

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Looking north, back towards Napier

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Approaching Ocean Beach. At this point we had ‘lost’ Max and Jerry as they went for a play after Cape Kidnappers.

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View from the Tiger Moth at low level.

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View of the Tiger Moth from the Stearman!

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Bruce 🙂


We caught up with Jan and Noel soon after the beach as we headed inland. Bruce turned on the smoke briefly 🙂


Te Mata peak in the distance…

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… with a nervous paraglider in the air


At this point Bruce kindly let me have control so we flew beside Te Mata peak and then turned around and headed towards Hastings Airfield at which point he took control again.

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The Stearman landing, seen from the Tiger Moth.


Tiger Moth landing.


Gipsy Moth coming in to land.

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A very happy Flying Officer Max Collett MID (485 Sqn, Spitfire pilot) 🙂

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A brilliant plane! Lovely to fly.


Jerry, Max and Jan – great people.


Jerry, Max, Noel and me.


Jerry, Max, Noel, me and Bruce.


Max getting out of the Gipsy Moth.

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Not bad, eh!


Erin (HBEC Aero Club instructor), Judith (flying friend of Jan’s), Jerry and Jan putting the plane to bed.


Bruce and Stephanie taxied the Stearman away to put it to bed and then came back for the BBQ.

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We had some bubbles to celebrate and Max presented Jan and Jerry with a painting of OU-D (the Spitfire he flew), signed by him.

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They very kindly put on a BBQ which was really good fun.

L-R: Jan, Erin, Bruce (a neighbour), Max, Judith, Jerry, Bruce, Stephanie, Noel.


View from the hangar. Night!


Huge thanks to Jan, Jerry, Bruce and Stephanie for a wonderful time.